Field excursion 1: Holsatian Habitat Corridors

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Re-establishing ecological
corridors 
via motorways in a national key region

During this excursion participants of the conference visited the  “Holstein Habitat Corridors”. Here they had a walk on both sides of the fauna passage Kiebitzholm so that they could get an insight into the different management strategies and ongoing actions.

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Afterwards, expertspresented the applied methods and strategies for  developing high-quality hinterland connections of a fauna passage for several target species and biotopes in a small scaled cultural landscape. The intervention includes several outstanding approaches to nature preservation:

  • The Holstein Habitat Corridors improved the management of high quality reserves, like Natura 2000 sites, to strengthen their role as donator habitats.
  • The functionality of existing stepping stones and connecting linear habitats has been maintained, so that species can spread from high quality reserves and resettle new habitats at least temporarily.
  • At places, where it was most needed, new core areas were developed, in order to function as stepping stones and especially connecting habitats – sometimes this implied very intensive management or even reconstruction of forests, fields and roadside habitats.
  • The project developed partnerships with all stakeholders, including numerous landowners, with each of them having individual objectives. Thus it was necessary to bring these objectives together and identify commonalities.
  • Overall, a coherent ecological network has been established, which connects the fauna passages with core habitats some kilometres away from these passages. Detailed scientific analyses are in progress to find out, how much this high-quality hinterland connectivity improves the efficiency of a fauna passage.

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How to reconnect habitats for heathland species like the wart-biter  – open a video project presentation here

Project’s Background

The role of Germany’s northernmost federal state Schleswig-Holstein as a gateway to Scandinavia is of vital importance for human traffic as well as for biodiversity.

There is a pressing need for keeping this gateway open for biodiversity as the environment is changing due to climate change and changes in both agricultural and transport policies. The project region, situated directly north of the Hamburg metropolitan area, is fragmented by roads, settlements and intensive agricultural and forestry use. Nevertheless, typical traits of the former species-rich and heterogeneous cultural landscape and (mostly small and isolated) populations of many endangered target species and biotopes still occur. Currently the construction and extension of several motorways in this region cause conflicts and threaten not only regional biodiversity but also its important role in the national and regional habitat corridor system.

To prevent this region from loosing its remarkable biodiversity and its role as a gateway for biodiversity, the road administration plans to develop a coherent system of green bridges and other fauna passages. These passages are one crucial requirement to preserve the permeability of the motorway network. But passages can only be as effective as the habitats surrounding them and the habitat corridors leading towards them. Especially when passages are intended to be a part of a supraregional ecological network, a sustainable high quality habitat network connected to every single passage is mandatory. The realisation of network of habitat corridors linked by fauna-passages is the goal of the regional project initiative named “Holsteiner Lebensraumkorridore – Holsatian Habitat Corridors… for dormice, deer and others”.

The project initiative has been developing, testing and implementing a wide variety of measures and actions for the local reconnection of habitats since 2008 by improving donor habitats as well as migration corridors in a multispecies approach. Up to now rather locally in the surroundings of an existing over- and underpass, in future in a project area of about 400 km² range. The scientific monitoring focuses especially on the effects of habitat management on fauna passages and their near surroundings and on the effects of the hinterland integration.

This project is funded by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. A group of organisations of the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein (Foundation for Nature Conservation, State Forest, Hunters Association, University of Kiel, Eekholt Wildlife Park and different local partners) contribute conjointly personnel, funding, land and knowledge to this project.

For more information see  www.lebensraumkorridore.de

Responsible:

Björn Schulz
Foundation for Nature Protection Schleswig-Holstein
+49 (0)431 2109043
schulz@sn-sh.de

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